The copper metabolism disorder Wilson's disease was first defined in 1912. Wilson's disease can present with hepatic and neurological deficits, including dystonia and parkinsonism. Early-onset presentations in infancy and late-onset manifestations in adults older than 70 years of age are now well recognised. Direct genetic testing for ATP7B mutations are increasingly available to confirm the clinical diagnosis of Wilson's disease, and results from biochemical and genetic prevalence studies suggest that Wilson's disease might be much more common than previously estimated. Early diagnosis of Wilson's disease is crucial to ensure that patients can be started on adequate treatment, but uncertainty remains about the best possible choice of medication. Furthermore, Wilson's disease needs to be differentiated from other conditions that also present clinically with hepatolenticular degeneration or share biochemical abnormalities with Wilson's disease, such as reduced serum ceruloplasmin concentrations. Disordered copper metabolism is also associated with other neurological conditions, including a subtype of axonal neuropathy due to ATP7A mutations and the late-onset neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
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